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Kraken increasingly concerned that they are the only team sitting in the penalty area

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CHICAGO — No one was suggesting the Kraken start diving like a bunch of Oscar-seeking footballers.

But the Kraken have started to notice lately that they are the only ones spending time in the penalty area. The situation became somewhat critical on Wednesday evening in Saint-Louis, when the Kraken were penalized six times for only one for the Blues.

Kraken forward Jordan Eberle sounded the alarm after the game, saying his team needed to “find a way to move our feet to create power plays.” I think the last five games we’ve had like three power plays.

“So we have to find a way to create more offensive zone chances. And when that happens, with second opportunities, that’s where guys attack you and that’s where you create power plays. So we have to find a way to do it.

The Kraken actually had six power-play chances in five games heading into Thursday, but Eberle’s point remains that it’s not enough to win consistently.

Kraken coach Dave Hakstol agreed ahead of Thursday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks that his team needed to start taking more penalties.

“We have to work a little harder in situations to shoot penalties,” he said. “We haven’t played much on the power play if you look at the last two weeks.”

Hakstol said it had little to do with the Kraken trading six players at the deadline, moves that matched the team’s lower draw penalties. He feels the Kraken have “moved the puck well the majority of those games” since those trades and that “for some reason” some tight, tight calls that could have gone against opponents weren’t called.

“I felt like we deserved a few last night,” Hakstol said of the Blues game. “There were a few hooks on the hands that were called against us. But I watch (Morgan) Geekie’s mini breakaway and he got shot (by Blues defenseman Nick Leddy). So we have to keep generating these situations. We have to be hungry and hard on the pucks and skate in other of those areas and work to get the power plays because obviously special teams make a big difference at this time of year.

‘Pride Night’ coming Saturday

The Kraken plans to celebrate “Pride Night” Saturday against the Calgary Flames, using non-binary artist Glynn Rosenberg to design warm-up jerseys that incorporate symbols associated with LGBTQ+ communities. Rosenberg’s design aims to convey the message that all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, belong in the game of hockey.

The use of colors for the jerseys involves a reinterpretation of the trans flag, where shades of blue represent the deep sea – home of the Kraken – while budding pinks represent a bright future for trans and non-binary people. The use of pansy flowers on jerseys aims to disrupt perceptions of hockey and gender norms by combining images of softness and femininity with the strength typically found in the sport.

During the match, the Pride Flag will be projected on the ice and tape panels of the Climate Pledge Arena and on the players’ tape. It will also be used on the rally towels that the team and sponsor Symetra are giving away to fans.

The Starbucks community star honored for the night will be volunteers from Lambert House, an LGBTQ youth center that cares for, advocates for and celebrates young people in the Greater Seattle area.

Hossa retires with the Blackhawks

During a television break midway through the opening period, the Blackhawks paid tribute to their former star forward and Hockey Hall of Famer Marian Hossa. The United Center crowd gave Hossa, 43, who quit playing in 2017 due to a progressive skin disorder, a rousing standing ovation that lasted more than a minute.

Hossa signed a one-day contract with the team on Thursday, so he could officially retire a member of the Blackhawks – with the team also announcing plans to retire his No. 81 jersey. He has played the last eight of his 19 NHL seasons with the team and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in November.

“It means so much to me because those were the best years of my life in Chicago,” Hossa, who attended Thursday’s game, said in a live Video Scoreboard interview.

The Slovak native played for Chicago from 2009 to 2017, taking part in three Stanley Cup titles with them in 2010, 2013 and 2015. He played in two other finals with Pittsburgh in 2008 and Detroit in 2009 and is the only player in NHL history to play in three consecutive championship series with three different teams.

Remarks

  • Kraken prospect Matty Beniers, the second overall pick in last summer’s entry draft, is officially eligible to sign with the team for the final weeks of the season. Beniers saw his college season come to a heartbreaking end on Thursday when his University of Michigan was upset 3-2 in overtime by the University of Denver in the semifinals at the NCAA’s “Frozen Four” in Boston.
  • Hakstol changed his defensive pairings a bit on Thursday, placing Cale Fleury and Carson Soucy in the starting lineup for the game. Fleury, 23, had been paired with Jamie Oleksiak in Wednesday’s game at St. Louis, but Hakstol wants to see how he fares in various pairs.
  • Ryan Donato’s assist on Alex Wennberg’s first goal on Thursday earned him points in four straight games for the first time since December 2019. Donato has also scored points in seven of his last eight road games.